A new set of rules about the actions of ministers and church leaders was published on the Vatican website on Thursday, July 16.
It provides guidance on how to act when sexual harassment of minors is reported.
This 9-part document was prepared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.
Sexual offences include consensual or violent sexual relations, harassment, exhibitionism, masturbation, distribution of pornographic material, and solicitation of debauchery through chat rooms and social networking sites.
The document sets out rules for the conduct of such cases:
1. Protecting the dignity of all persons involved in the process.
2. Thorough verification of information received about such cases. If it happened in confession, the sacrament of confession must be preserved, but the confessor must convince the penitent to report his crime.
In February 2019, at the initiative of Pope Francis, the highest hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church met in the Vatican to discuss ways to protect children. Pope Francis was present at some meetings in person.
The reason for this was the scandal about the crimes of pedophile priests, which seriously undermined the authority of the Roman Catholic Church, but also caused serious financial damage to the Vatican, because the donations were significantly reduced. Journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, who participated in a trial for the theft of secret documents of the Holy See, wrote in his book that in 2016 donations were more than € 100 million, and in 2018 declined to € 60 million.